Thailand to extend visas for many tourists from October in a bid to boost its economy

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Travelers will be able to stay in Thailand longer, visa-free, after the country announced an extension period in a bid to boost post-pandemic tourism.

Citizens of over 50 countries – including the UK, most European Union countries, the US, Canada and Australia – are already allowed to stay in Thailand for 30 days without having to apply visa before their arrival.

But soon, travelers from these countries will be able to receive a 45-day visa in their passport under the new plans.

Travelers from the other 18 countries entering Thailand under the visa on arrival program will be allowed to extend their stay from 15 days to 30 days.

Currently, the program will start on October 1, 2022 and is expected to last until March 31, 2023 before returning to normal.

The Thai government hopes its new temporary plan will help attract 10 million tourists to its shores this year.

It comes after Thailand simplified its Covid restrictions for tourism. The country has seen around four million tourists arrive so far in 2022.

The bright lights of bustling Bangkok

(Getty)

Earlier this month, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said just over a million people entered Thailand in July – the first time monthly arrivals have exceeded that number since the pandemic.

Thailand also intends to attract wealthier foreigners to live in the country with a “golden visa” program.

Ministers expect the Long Term Residence (LTR) visa scheme, which is due to start taking applications on September 1, will help boost Thailand’s economy by up to £20bn over the course of the next decade.

It will primarily be aimed at wealthy investors as well as digital nomads – whom the Thai government describes as “working professionals from Thailand” – and up to four dependents per applicant.

Narit Therdsteerasukdi, deputy general secretary of the Thailand Board of Investment (BoI), told the German newspaper DW: “We are convinced that the LTR will generate significant interest in our target groups in Europe.”

Indonesia has also offered benefits to foreign digital nomads.

It plans to offer a five-year digital nomad visa that would allow remote workers to live there tax-free, including on the popular island destination of Bali.

In June, Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno said Indonesia hoped to attract nearly four million travelers over the next year.

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